Written by Lisa Berry
What started quite simply as a way for a group of boys to finance a “passion project” in the early 1900s has ballooned into an international love affair with a remarkable root.
If you’re from Marathon County, you’ve probably heard about the Fromm Brothers’ foray into fur farming…
The four boys, ranging in age from 8 to 13, read a magazine article about fur pelts selling for $1,200 in London. As young entrepreneurs, they wanted in on that action and asked their father to finance the project.
Since all parents know who will really be looking after the animals their children bring home, their father said that the boys would have to pay for their own project by harvesting wild ginseng. That fool’s errand from Father Fromm set off a chain reaction, leading to the very first cultivated ginseng in the United States being grown right here in Marathon County.
Currently, Marathon County is the top ginseng producer in the world —
producing 95% of America’s ginseng!
(Oh, and spoiler alert: The Fromm boys DID make enough cash to buy those silver foxes they were after.)
While we’ve always been proud of our ginseng heritage,
this year WE’RE GOING GLOBAL to celebrate!
September 15–17, thousands of ginseng enthusiasts will come to Marathon County for the first-ever International Ginseng Festival.
We will be celebrating all things ginseng at such places as Wausau’s 400 Block, Granite Peak, The Center for the Visual Arts, and the 45N x 90W Geographic Marker near Poniatowski. Additionally, farms, businesses, shops, and museums all over Marathon County will be offering ginseng-themed books, tours, gift items, and more as they help mark this festive occasion. Local bars and restaurants are already planning out their special ginseng-themed concoctions and cocktails.
The community is ALL IN on this celebration—garnering nearly $39,440 from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to market the event and $25,000 from the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin for bilingual signs in Mandarin Chinese and English. “Discover Wisconsin” will be doing an entire episode on the ginseng festival, and Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises of Wausau has marketed the festival on Chinese television twice already.
You won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate Marathon County’s world-famous ginseng and to connect with visitors from all around the globe.
Mark your calendars to prepare for this traffic-stopping event
on a scale like we’ve NEVER seen before!
You can learn more about the International Ginseng Festival coming to Marathon County this fall on the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website.
Sales Director | Wausau / Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lisa Berry is the Sales Director of the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau, representing the communities of Rib Mountain, Rothschild, Schofield, Wausau, and Weston. Lisa is responsible for selling the Wausau area as a destination for meetings, conferences, and tradeshows. She works closely with area hotels and meeting facilities to attract new business to the Wausau area. Email Lisa Berry.
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